- Q. You are living balloons?
A. Yes. Spindizzy has a modest but friendly community of polymer-based creatures. They are as alive as any other visitors to Spindizzy.
- Q. Isn’t that freakish?
A. Not significantly more than many flesh-and-blood creatures are. Spindizzy does encourage all, balloon or not, to be as strange as they might, of course. Our balloons are generally friendly, cheerful, and gregarious.
- Q. Why are you balloons?
A. Why are you not? Many enjoy the near-weightlessness, the playfulness, the eagerness with which people become sillier around one. There’s also the appeal of living “balanced between surface tension and internal pressure”. Some enjoy the ability to stretch, or the softness, or the ability to grow quite large while remaining delicate, or building static electricity in their hugs. It’s the fun of a daydream, shared.
- Q. You’re lighthearted?
- Q. What are you made of?
A. Most balloons are a plastic skin, usually a latex rubber or a vinyl, which is filled with a gas, most often air. Mylar and other materials are rarely used as skins. The living soap bubble is most rare. Helium or water are occasionally, usually only temporarily, used as filler. Note that latex and vinyl have here properties loosely related to that of real-world materials. A few ‘balloons’ are made of elastic flesh and blood, and may be solid; we accept them as friends, but request they stay the night at a hotel. By convention latex is typically taken to be stretchable and compressible almost without limit, and vinyl is taken to be more elastic than the actual material. Both latex and vinyl are taken to remain flexible and ‘healthy’ despite heat, cold, sunlight, and other chemical intrusions. They are also taken to produce static electricity and satisfying squeakings when rubbed the correct way (ask for instructions).
- Q. How do you eat and breathe and talk? How can you be alive?
A. Some are animated by magic spells. Others are animated by complex application of advanced technology. Others claim to be the result of evolutionary processes — absurd but not indefensible when one considers starches, for example, are already polymers, and one could argue nucleic acids are as well. We simply base a chromosome on isoprene rather than phosphate groups.It may be best to trust a person as present than to doubt their biology too greatly. If your world is large enough to accept living rabbit slippers, tangible computer programs, and cartoon characters it should be large enough to accept a live pool toy.Eating, breathing, and talking are done by the method the individual balloon prefers, and many forego one or more of these. Inquire of the balloon you meet. Many balloons have one or more nozzles or valves for air control. It is generally rude to grab one without the balloon’s player’s permission. Ask by page or whisper if it’s not clear whether you may.
- Q. Where are the Balloon Fields?
A. From the ‘Rose’ garden go south four times and west six.
- Q. Are you an organized group like the Society of Evil Doers?
A. No. Most of the balloons know one another and like one another, but we’re not organized by anything but friendship and occasional family bonds.
- Q. Family? How can balloons have family?
A. As all have families on mucks; by adopting those we love. They can become sisters, spouses, children or parents by choice.
- Q. Is there a roleplaying community of balloons?
A. There is no organized community, but the nature of being balloons is conducive to roleplay. It’s difficult to not interact in-character with a person who leaps onto your nose and balances on one finger.
- Q. Where do you live?
A. There is no single “balloon town”, and we live where individuals happened to settle. There are the Balloon Fields, S4 W6 from the Rose Garden, always open to balloons and their friends, and a good place to make home. Entering the Balloon Fields triggers a soft magic spell which repairs any damage done to a balloon. There are basic rules of respect in the Balloon Fields; type “rules” when there to read them.
- Q. Where do you hang out?
A. There is no specific balloon hangout, though the Balloon Fields, S4 W6 from the Rose Garden, are liked. Usually we will be where our friends are.
- Q. Is anybody allergic to balloons?
A. Latex allergies are common in real life, and immediate reactions can be lethal. Synthetic rubbers tend to be less allergenic, and vinyl allergies are very rare. No known muck allergies to balloons have been recorded, however. This must be regarded as an unexploited character trait.
- Q. Are cartoons balloons?
A. Cartoons share many properties of balloons, including elasticity and inflatability, and are as indestructible as most balloons prefer to be. They also share much of the silliness and whimsy of balloons. They are not generally taken to be balloons, except in special cases, as in the 1935 Ub Iwerks cartoon “Balloon Land”, or as in the 1933 Max Fleischer cartoon “Betty Boop’s May Party”.
- Q. Are balloons toys?
A. Some are explicitly toys. Others are people who happen to be balloons. Typically balloons are more willing to be toyed with than flesh-and-blood persons, but do watch how the character responds to you to judge whether your play is welcome. A discrete whisper or page asking permission to continue is good whenever one is unsure.Most balloons welcome being picked up and tossed into the air, but do please think of something to do when and if we land again. Occasional volleyball is fun, but it has been done often before.
- Q. Can we inflate or fill you up? Can we stretch you?
A. Most balloons accept being stretched, or even inflated, by friends. If you do not have a relationship with a particular balloon it is rude to reach right for someone’s nozzle. While the balloon may accept it–we do try to go along with others–asking first, by whisper or page, will make you more popular.
- Q. Can we pop you?
A. On a first date?
Most often the answer is no: the magic or technology which keeps balloons animate usually makes them unbreakable. They are also unbreakable (and healed if torn) when in the Balloon Fields, S4 W6 from the Rose Garden. The extraordinary elasticity attributed to balloons also makes popping difficult eve if it is conceivable.Occasionally one can be popped. This should be regarded as analogous to making a flesh-and-blood person bleed: while inevitable for some actions, it is a serious event. It should be done only if one has consulted the balloon’s player to ensure it will be accepted. In short, no popping without permission.Minor pops or damage can be played and be made interesting, and several balloons carry small patches or repair kits to guard against accidents. The Balloon Fields heal broken balloons brought there.
- Q. Can you turn into real people?
A. We are rather sure we are real people. What you are is debatable. Many balloons are such by magic spells, and have the power to turn into more solid forms. It depends on the person.
- Q. Can real people turn into balloons?
A. Yes, temporarily or permanently. For a temporary transformation, in the Balloon Fields and in the Rose Garden are “Balloon Construction Kits.” They are used by the command “bck”. These are TRaM (Temporary Random Morph) devices which add temporarily to your description a paragraph stating that you are made of a balloon material and filled with air or helium. This transformation lasts usually for a day or until one enters the “untram” command.Also in the Rose Garden is a “flubber water fountain”, from which you can take a “sip” to turn into a fully elastic body. As above this is done by temporarily adding a paragraph to your description detailing your body’s transformation into a creature made of flubber.Further in the Rose Garden the Costume Box offers a variety of rabbit TRaMs. Three of these are balloon rabbits; “choose 7” (or 8 or 9) to become that. This replaces your description only until you “untram” when the old is restored. “choose 34” (or 35 or 36) is the “Volleybunny”, a rabbit-shaped living volleyball. While not a balloon, it is popular, and has some relation.In the Balloon Fields is a small stream of brilliant water which makes those soaked in it first turn blue, and elastic, and finally into balloons. This is not necessarily a full-body transformation, which has its complications. Whether this is a temporary or a permanent change, and whether color can be controlled, is not yet solved. There is no command for using this field; simply roleplay the dip into the water.Many characters, including nearly all balloons, will be happy to roleplay the transformation of you into a ballooned form which can be temporary or permanent, or to provide some method by which you can turn into and back from balloon as convenient.A permanent transformation is ultimately done by your writing a new description, but again any existing balloon and many magical or high-technology characters will likely enjoy roleplaying your change.
- Q. Can I help out Beltrami and give her a voice? At least a telepathic communicator?
A. Not successfully. Beltrami is mute because her player finds that an interesting personality trait, and does not at present want to change that. While one can attempt to giver her a voice or telepathic communicator her player will try to make it fail in an entertaining way.